Deputy Director General (Research for Development)

Colombo, , LK






Deputy Director General (Research for Development)



IWMI Headquarters, Colombo



Director General


The Deputy Director General (Research for Development) (DDG) will drive the science agenda within IWMI to address global development challenges for water security and natural resource management. This includes leading the identification of innovative research areas, ensuring relevance of thematic content for the development agenda that contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), global climate agenda, and other regional and national imperatives, and assuring the quality of outputs. The DDG will be responsible and accountable for IWMI’s contributions to, and engagement in, the CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs), including the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE), which the Institute leads.

The DDG will also play a key role in stimulating ideas and lines of investigation, synthesizing and communicating research findings to key stakeholders, and in identifying and guiding the scaling up and scaling out of research findings. The person will play a vital role in the overall management and direction of IWMI, will be a member of the Institute’s

Management Team (MT) and will lead the Program Leadership Team (PLT). Approximately 25% of the DDG’s time is expected to directly contribute to projects as a lead or team member. The position holder will report to the Director General (DG) and be based at IWMI’s headquarters in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

You will be responsible for the following:

Research direction, implementation and uptake:

  • Oversee the research strategy and science quality within IWMI.
  • Work closely with the DG and the IWMI Board of Governors on the Institute’s strategic directions, including preparation of the strategic plans.
  • Work across the organization to ensure that IWMI’s work has relevance to emerging development challenges, and project impact pathways are established and routinely evaluated. This involves commissioning foresight studies, strategy scenario setting and conducting impact assessments as required.
  • Supervise Theme Leaders (TLs), ensuring they form a strong research-for-development leadership team, and effectively collaborate in the development of an enabling environment for cross-theme cooperation.
  • Promote, guide and oversee IWMI’s involvement in the CRPs to build the Institute’s research portfolio and ensure complementarity and synergistic approaches to the research-for-development agenda.
  • Work closely with the WLE Program Director, science leaders of other CGIAR centers and key strategic partners.
  • Represent IWMI at CGIAR research group meetings and regional meetings relevant to the Institute’s core agenda, including interactions with the CGIAR Independent Science and Partnership Council (ISPC) and Independent Evaluation Arrangement (IEA).
  • Ensure adequate program support to themes and projects via oversight from the Program Office at IWMI.

Profiling IWMI, networking and resource mobilization:

  • Represent IWMI in global research and development initiatives, conferences and networks.
  • Develop close cooperation with key development partners, take responsibility for major research proposals, and provide general input and guidance across IWMI’s resource mobilization activities.
  • Work with the Director, Business Development, and TLs to develop proposal ideas, identify key people to develop proposals and seek relevant partners, and ensure quality and relevance of proposals.
  • Act as IWMI’s main representative in promoting its water research-for-development outputs, products and solutions platforms through the publication of papers and presentations, and by encouraging and identifying opportunities for researchers of the Institute to do the same.
  • Promote the Institute and its research aims within the research and development communities.
  • Promote collaboration and knowledge sharing.
  • Provide input to the communications units of IWMI and the CRPs.
  • Ensure effective internal communications both within the research-for-development team and across the Institute.

Staff development and supervision:

  • In consultation with TLs:
    • establish and maintain appropriate staffing of the research themes to ensure that quality projects are delivered on time and according to budgets;
    • propose a clear structure for the research-for-development themes, including responsibilities and accountabilities of individuals as per IWMI’s policies and procedures as agreed by the MT; and
    • oversee the capacity development of IWMI’s research staff.
  • Provide mentoring to senior research managers, and manage appraisal and performance management reviews of all research staff.
  • Liaise with the Business Development Unit/Program Office/Human Resources to ensure that resourcing and staffing at project level is adequate to ensure delivery of outputs.

Other management related functions:

  • Act as the main resource person for the IWMI Board’s Program Committee, and provide advice and support as required.
  • Lead and facilitate IWMI’s Annual Research Meeting and take responsibility for the annual research progamming cycle.
  • Prepare and manage IWMI’s research-for-development budget (with TLs, Corporate Services Director and Program Office).
  • Oversee the Audit and Performance Indicator reports developed by the Program Office.
  • Deputize for the DG as required.
  • Work closely with the DG on a range of issues that may arise in the Institute.

You will possess the following:

  • A PhD in an area relevant to IWMI’s mandate and research program.
  • A minimum of 15 years of extensive experience in related areas of research, research for development, research institutions, development organizations and key stakeholders.
  • Proven ability to deliver research for development of international excellence, and demonstrable capacity to guide programs to deliver impact.
  • Proven ability to create and lead a strategic vision.
  • Proven ability to manage a team to secure significant funding.
  • Proven ability to develop local and external collaborations with strategic partners.
  • Experience of teamwork and team leadership in a scientific and development context.
  • Scientific credibility as evidenced by sustained research outputs, for instance, publications in scientific journals, presentations at conferences, and successful research-led knowledge transfer in related research disciplines.
  • Track record of representing an organization at a senior level and working closely with senior colleagues.
  • Experience of managing teams of people that have delivered high quality outputs on time and according to set budgets.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the role of research for development and how to achieve impact.
  • Experience in managing finances, and planning work from both scientific and financial/human resource perspectives.
  • Demonstrable capacity to successfully motivate, manage and lead teams of different disciplines and multiple cultures to deliver on the research outputs and development outcomes described above.
  • Ability to analyze processes and implement continuous improvements.
  • Strong communication skills, both written and oral.
  • Ability to work with stakeholders at different management levels in multiple countries, particularly developing and emerging economies.
  • Ability to work as a member of a team and work closely with researchers of other disciplines.
  • Evidence of strategic planning skills and conceptual thinking.
  • Ability to mentor colleagues and continuously build capacity within the organization.
  • Ability to liaise with key donor agencies.

Closing date: June 30, 2016